Holiday Gift Guide (2017)
This past year I started a project to document, illustrate, and visualize all of the Things that I own. From the mundane to the unique and ridiculous, my belongings are a reflection of my personality and interests. Drawing these items has brought back fond memories of how I obtained them and reminded me of the different stories behind each one.
For this inaugural Gift Guide, I selected ten items from the Things that I have drawn so far. In addition to being under $50, they all are items I would personally gift or would be happy to receive. Enjoy!
Suprgood Slim Wallet
There's a great Seinfeld episode that features George Costanza's giant wallet, an object so big that putting it in his back pocket made him sit at a slant. George kept hard candy, sugar packets, and the rest of his life in his wallet.
This Suprgood wallet is the opposite of that. It's designed to minimize the contents in your wallet and declutter your pockets. Made of an elastic material, the minimal sleeve stretches to hold up to around 8 credit cards. I usually fold up my cash and tuck it in the side. It's really helped me think about what I need to carry around on a day to day basis.
Stack-On Multi-Purpose Steel Tool Box
From the metal construction to the heavy duty bolts and handle, this tool box is rugged and meant to last. The 16" model is big enough to store everything from a hammer to paint brushes and other artist supplies. This tool box is almost too nice to use as just a regular tool box so I actually keep mementos and other personal items in there.
Bent-Nail Bottle Opener
This rather unassuming bottle opener from Areaware is made of a bent nail and a piece of wood. A magnet on the outside of the opener lets you keep it on the fridge while a magnet on the inside catches the bottle cap after you remove it. It's amazingly simple and cleverly designed.
Chromecast Audio lets you stream music and other audio to your speakers over wi-fi. You no longer have to plug in your phone to your sound system using a 3.5 mm audio jack.
The best part of Chromecast Audio is the ability to pair multiple units. With a few of these, I was able to create a multi-room audio system(much like Sonos but using my own speakers. Spotify connects directly, so now I can stream the same music to multiple rooms and speakers at once. The new Google Home devices also integrate with Chromecast Audio to create an enriched voice assisted experience.
The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science
Published in 2015, The Food Lab is a book by James Kenji López-Alt (better known as Kenji), the Managing Culinary Director of Serious Eats and writer for its popular food column The Food Lab which was started in 2009. From the starch levels in different types of potatoes to the chemical reactions that occur with different cooking techniques, the book is equal parts cookbook and textbook. It's intellectually interesting, but perhaps more importantly, has helped me become a better home cook.
Casio G-Shock Watch (DW5600E-1V)
Many of the G-Shock watches are either excessively large or overly embellished but this particular model is both modestly sized (approximately 45mm vs the typical 48mm+) and understated with its simple face. It's got a stopwatch, timer, backlight, date, and is water resistant. A great non-fussy watch for running or hiking.
Also, Steve Carrell wears this watch in '40 Year Old Virgin.' Solid
Harry's Truman Razor
The typical razor you get at the drugstore seems more closely related to a racecar engine than a grooming product, both in design and in price. Harry's razors and blades are well-made. inexpensive, and give me a good shave. The Truman razor with the bright orange handle is nice enough to display in your bathroom.
Victorinox Swiss Army Camper Pocket Knife
I was gifted this Swiss Army knife by a friend when I was in high school. I've traveled through Europe with it, and it's my go to tool when camping or hiking. It's been over 15 years, but my knife is still in great shape.
I have a slightly different model than the one here (I have the Super Tinker which has scissors and a second smaller knife) but if I were to get a new one, I would get the Camper which has a corkscrew and a wood saw. There are so many different models though that you can almost definitely find one that suits your specific needs. The handle can be engraved for a personalized touch.
AUKEY Latitude Wireless Headphones
Because I listen to music 90% of the time that I'm awake, I tend to really geek out on audio gear. I've owned closed, open, noise canceling, in, and over ear headphones across various brands.
I specifically bought these headphones because they were the NYTimes/Wirecutter recommendation for budget wireless gym headphones, but they've become my go to pair for all occasions. Audio quality is good, they stay in my ear, and the battery lasts most of the day. With an IPX4 rating, the headphones have light water resistance though they probably won't work after full submergence.
Jabra Move Wireless Headphones
If you prefer over the ear headphones, the Jabra Move is well designed and offers great sound at a super reasonable price. Because I wear glasses, over the ear headphones get uncomfortable after extended periods of use but these are fairly light and fit comfortably.
* Note: All prices current as of Dec 1, 2017